An Old Texas Ranch Becomes a Spectacular Family Haven

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Outside Austin, a ranch in Texas Hill Country is refashioned as a comfortable, contemporary retreat for family and friends.

Located on 100-acre ranch just 25 miles from downtown Austin, near the famous Hamilton Pools at the edge of the Texas Hill Country, Rancho Buena Vida—"Good Life Ranch"—sits high on a shaded bluff, overlooking its own spring-fed water source. 

The clients, who were living in the Washington, D.C., area when the project started, had been planning to relocate to be closer to family. They tapped Ben Dozier of Root Design Company, a design consultancy that brings together designers and builders, to oversee the project and renovate the property to suit their needs.

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An Old Texas Ranch Becomes a Spectacular Family Haven - Photo 1 of 13 -
The main house was given a contemporary look with a metal roof and a black exterior. 

The main house was given a contemporary look with a metal roof and a black exterior. 

The original ranch consisted of an existing main house, a guest house, and a small chicken coop—all in dire need of contemporary updates. The clients were also hoping to increase the residence's square footage in order to create an idyllic retreat that would also be able to accommodate their extended family and friends. 

The wraparound deck boasts a view of the surroundings with shade provided by the eaves of the roof. 

The wraparound deck boasts a view of the surroundings with shade provided by the eaves of the roof. 

The kitchen was updated with high-end finishes and a sleek, contemporary style. 

The kitchen was updated with high-end finishes and a sleek, contemporary style. 

The existing structures were updated with a material palette that included natural aging patinas, raw steel doors and shelves, zinc countertops, and wood-paneled and beamed ceilings—juxtaposed with clean plaster finishes. 

The existing structures were updated with a material palette that included natural aging patinas, raw steel doors and shelves, zinc countertops, and wood-paneled and beamed ceilings—juxtaposed with clean plaster finishes. 

Extensive glazing provides ample natural light and panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. 

Extensive glazing provides ample natural light and panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. 

Ample space for guests includes a refurbished 1976 "Texas Motel" Airstream—and the family has plans for additional guest quarters in the works. 

Ample space for guests includes a refurbished 1976 "Texas Motel" Airstream—and the family has plans for additional guest quarters in the works. 

The updated interiors of the airstream are a mix of wood-paneling and the RV's iconic, shiny silver finish. 

The updated interiors of the airstream are a mix of wood-paneling and the RV's iconic, shiny silver finish. 

Attached to the pool is a single-pitch, steel-framed pavilion with an outdoor kitchen and dining area. The shelter provides additional outdoor living space for the family to congregate. 

Attached to the pool is a single-pitch, steel-framed pavilion with an outdoor kitchen and dining area. The shelter provides additional outdoor living space for the family to congregate. 

At the back of the pavilion is a double-stacked wood wall and fireplace with a TV. 

At the back of the pavilion is a double-stacked wood wall and fireplace with a TV. 

The double-stacked wood wall from the exterior. 

The double-stacked wood wall from the exterior. 

The pavilion overlooks the 60-foot-long lap pool which was built into the hillside with a stunning, rough-hewn exposed stone ledge.

The pavilion overlooks the 60-foot-long lap pool which was built into the hillside with a stunning, rough-hewn exposed stone ledge.

The wood-slatted louvers provide shade from the setting sun.

The wood-slatted louvers provide shade from the setting sun.

Project Credits:
Architect of Record: Root Design Company, @rootdesignco
Builder/General Contractor: Root Design Company 
Structural Engineer: ARCH Engineers, Brad Farris
Pavilion Shop Drawings and Construction: Drop House 
Landscape and Pool Shop Drawings: Holden Water
Photography: Chase Daniel, @thevuvobandit